There are no words to describe the positive experience I had in Istanbul, Turkey. From the exceptional history of the city, to the general kindness of the people, this will not be my last trip to Turkey. I have deemed myself the new Goodwill Ambassador for Istanbul, and can not stress enough how amazing my experience in was. I encourage travelers to get rid of any doubts and book your next trip to Istanbul, I promise it will be the best trip of your life…
Religion is Respected
Walking the streets of Istanbul, Turkey is truly a cultural experience. There are so many different types of people. Although the people of Turkey are predominately Muslim, Istanbul is a very modern city that embraces it’s people just as they are. Some women choose to wear a hijab while others look like they walked right out of a western magazine. No matter where in the world you are from, you will fit right in. I comfortably wore shorts and skirts the entire time I was there. With the exception of my blonde hair, I looked like I have lived in Istanbul all of my life. So many people around the world want to categorize Turkey with all of the negative press they hear about the Middle East. It is such a shame because it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Walking around Istanbul, I felt like I was walking around the States.
Istanbul is Safe
Another misconception about Turkey is safety. I have never felt more safe in a large city than I did in Istanbul. Policeman are stationed on every block, at every tram and metro stop, and hundreds more walking around. They are very approachable and happy to help. The city was very protected and welcoming.
The People Are Amazing!
Many of the Turkish people survive on tourism. Right now, because of unfortunate negative press, tourism is very low. Turkish people are the most kind group of people I have ever encountered while traveling! They struggle to understand why they are thought of in such a negative way, and I don’t blame them. Everyone we did business with (shopping, dinning, hotel) thanked us for coming to Istanbul all the way from the States, despite the rumors we may have heard. I couldn’t believe the amount of generosity from strangers. If you looked lost, more than one person would ask if you needed assistance to find your way.
Another Example of the Amazing People…
One time, we were short 1 Turkish Lira to by a tram ticket and the gentleman behind us just put the money into the slot and saved the day. Even when we took a trip to Ephesus, the people were so thankful for our business and took the time to shake our hands and learn our names. When we walked down the street to our hotel, waiters and restaurant staff from each restaurant would greet us and ask about our day. Our hotel even gave us a small gift when we checked out….that was a first for me! It appears that being kind is just the Turkish way.
If you are looking for your next vacation spot, please do not hesitate to travel to Istanbul, Turkey! The city will not disappoint you. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have about traveling to Turkey and help you in any way I can. My goal is to have everyone share my positive experience with a city that I know embrace and love.